I conducted PhD research in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge from 2010 to 2014, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. Earlier, I trained in archaeology at UCL, and also spent several years in Egypt as an archaeologist and studying Arabic. This experience informed my PhD dissertation, “Egyptology, Archaeology and the Making of Revolutionary Egypt, c. 1925–1958”.
My dissertation examines how archaeological field practices helped to make the revolutionary Egypt that began to coalesce under Nasser during the 1950s. The project also investigates how these practices contributed to the formation of other categories related to the post-Second World War era: the Cold War and the decolonised nation-state amongst them. I argue that archaeological field work of this time, often tied to techno-scientific ideals of land reform, materially and socially grounded understandings of such categories across the world—even in the smallest grain of earth. My current research builds on this thesis by using the UNESCO-backed archaeological salvage campaign in Egyptian and Sudanese Nubia during the 1960s to generate a much more complex understanding of the post-War world’s political and social realities than otherwise exists.